UA prepares satellites to power future lunar station

Deepak Gupta July 11, 2022
Updated 2022/07/11 at 11:52 PM

Portugal has also “given the cards” in the space area. Researchers from the University of Aveiro have been working, since 2020, on an energy project on a prototype of a satellite that is now in the museum of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Plans call for a modular constellation of satellites that will orbit the Moon directly overhead.

Satellites: Solar energy in space is much more effective than on Earth

The project, supported by ESA, provides for the construction of a set of satellites that, after being placed in orbit on the Moon, are able to capture solar energy and transfer it to a lunar station in order to feed its entire operation.

Nuno Borges de Carvalho, director of DETI, specialist in radio frequency systems (wireless energy transmission) and general manager of the project, says that “The objective is to energize the future habitable station to be built on the face of the Moon”.

UA prepares satellites to power future lunar station

For the fiction to become a reality, the plans foresee a modular constellation of satellites that will orbit the Moon passing directly above the lunar base. When in direct sunlight, solar panels attached to satellites and coated in luminescent materials will generate electricity more efficiently than the simple solar panels used on Earth today.

This energy, explains Nuno Borges Carvalho, will be stored in batteries, until the satellite is closer to the lunar station. At this point, "energy will be beamed to the lunar station through antennas and focused by lenses to reduce spillover losses." In this way, “it will be possible to supply power to lunar stations even during the long lunar night”.

“One day on the Moon is 15 days on Earth”. That is, a lunar station will always be subject to 15 days of light followed by 15 days of darkness. With solar panels rotating on the satellite, energy capture is permanent as the panels are always facing the Sun and the antennas, to discharge energy, always face the Moon”.

The researcher also recalls that capturing solar energy in space is much more effective than on Earth. In addition to the fact that on our planet the panels only work for a few hours a day, “our atmosphere filters a huge amount of wavelengths, which does not allow us to receive energy in full”, says Nuno Borges de Carvalho, remembering that on the Moon, because there is no atmosphere, this problem does not arise. Therefore, in the minds of researchers is also the idea that one day the same satellites will be able to send energy not only to the lunar station, but also to Earth.

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